The Misadventours of Airman Snuffy McDufflebag and Master Sgt. Johnny Mentor

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- Wow, what an exciting couple of weeks, Team Incirlik doing great on the NSI, the start of the college and professional football seasons, and yes, the two biggest awards at the 58th annual Emmy Awards (best comedy and dramatic series) went to first-timers "The Office" and "24," two quality shows. 

While the last couple of weeks have been hectic, Team Incirlik did not lose focus after the NSI was over. At least most of us didn't. The last couple of weeks saw our good buddy Master Sgt. Johnny Mentor in high spirits, he was proud of the efforts of his Airmen, especially Airman Snuffy McDufflebag. Although Snuffy had done so well during the NSI, some people are just habitual line steppers. 

I saw Sergeant Mentor coming out of the safety office Monday. He told me he was going to use this time of reflection to remind his Airmen to stay focused on their daily mission. He said that Snuffy got himself into a situation that weekend he will never forget. 

Monday was a night that changed Snuffy's life. Snuffy was excited Sunday morning, he walked into work all fired up about the NSI coming to an end and the NFL football season starting. Although, Snuffy was a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan, he also loved the Houston Texans. "They are geniuses. Not taking Reggie Bush with the No. 1 pick is the smartest thing I have ever seen in my life, they will never regret that. I would have done the same thing myself!" - Figures. 

After work Snuffy decided to go out to watch football and drink at the NCO club with a few friends. He called his good buddies, Dennis "Forgets" Burntham, Jimmy "Motor Boat" Brown, and Brian "Touchdown" Bender. They usually get together during football season, hang out and drink. The irony here is they would call these outings "safety meetings." 

For the group of friends it was a typical night out. Since Snuffy already had a DUI and can't drive from an earlier incident (See July 14 Tip of the Sword to find out what happened) and Jimmy and Dennis refused to drive that evening because they didn't want to get a DUI, their fourth partner, Bender, had no problem with being the DD, "Designated DUI." Snuffy and his friends were more concerned with not going to jail than thoughts about possibly killing someone in a car wreck. 

So, here we go. After a couple of hours of yelling at a football team on TV, drinking several Zimas and Snuffy's favorite Banana Cognac daiquiris, the group decided to go back to Jimmy's house and watch the second football game. It was like they'd forgotten the next day was Monday and there was still an inspection going on. After a couple more hours of heavy drinking it was time to go home. 

It was about 2:15 a.m. and Jimmy said he had to get some sleep before the next game at 4:30 a.m. With Brian behind the wheel, Snuffy and Dennis climbed into his Pontiac Sunfire with no clue about what would happen next. 

The trip from Jimmy's house was uneventful. Brian seemed to have total control over his driving. When they got close to the dorms, Brian decided that he needed more beer, so they proceeded to the shoppette, but it was closed. I don't know what happened when he saw the store was closed, but he immediately changed into a different person. "How can the shoppette be closed during football season," Brian yelled while beating the steering wheel of his car. "Dude, don't lose control," Snuffy said. "We've been drinking all night let's just go home." 

All I can guess is seeing the shoppette closed after a night of drinking must have sent young Mr. Bender over the edge. He pulled out of the parking lot and turned away from the dorms. Snuffy and Dennis asked him where he was going and Brian began to laugh and started saying, "Yea, Snuffy it's all about control" and began to increase speed. Dennis was like, "Brian, cut it out man, slow down." He only laughed louder and punched the gas pedal to the floor over and over again. Snuffy and Dennis began to sober up a little because they were really afraid for their lives. Snuffy begged Brian to stop, but he wouldn't. He just kept laughing. 

Brian said "I wonder how fast I could go if I was driving down a straight away like the flightline." At this point, Snuffy was scared like never before. He just knew they were going to die. Snuffy's life flashed before his eyes. He would never have a chance to say goodbye to his family or girlfriend. Who is going to take care of his dog, Puddles? Snuffy looked at the speedometer, and it said they were doing 95 MPH. They were about to blow across A-Street, crash into another vehicle, and kill everyone. Meanwhile, Brian is still laughing and repeating, "It's all about control." Instinctively, Snuffy braced himself for impact, shut his eyes, and prepared to die. 

It is truly a miracle that at that moment Brian passed out. Snuffy grabbed the wheel and slammed on the brakes right before the out-of-control car crossed onto A-Street. Snuffy moved Brian over -- just thankful to be alive and somehow managed to drive the Sunfire back to the dorms. Needless to say, Snuffy was never happier to be home and alive.
The next day, Snuffy called Brian and proceeded to give him a piece of his mind, but he didn't remember a thing . Passing out caused him not to remember a single moment about what he did the night before. Snuffy couldn't fathom this concept. Brian was also out the next day drinking beer again. Even after Snuffy told him the whole story, he was drinking again. "It's all about control man!" Snuffy then proceeded to tell Sergeant Mentor what happened. 

Sergeant Mentor said that is why he was in the safety office. He said that across the Air Force there had been nine personally-owned motor vehicle fatalities because of DUIs. He said across United States Air Force in Europe there had been 124 DUIs so far in fiscal year 2006. 

Sergeant Mentor said Snuffy and his friends were very fortunate to be alive and not to have injured themselves or someone else. Losing control, not staying focused and not taking drinking and driving seriously almost cost them their lives. Sergeant Mentor used the Sept. 11 time of reflection to remind Snuffy and all of his Airmen how precious life is, and to think before having "safety meetings." 

I learned that drinking and driving is no laughing matter and not taking it seriously can have irreporable consequences. I hope Snuffy learned that too, but we all know he is a habitual line stepper.